Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mark and the management team, the players, and club staff on a terrific win in the FA cup against Dartford.
There have been a lot of discussions, rumours and murmurings about the squad, the club finances and the running of the club being aired, I thought it appropriate to produce an official statement on behalf of the board, chairman and committee so everyone at Oxford City knows where we are and where we are heading.
A competitive budget was set in the summer with full control of this budget being given to the management team. The budget is comparable to what the football club has allocated to playing staff in recent years and probably within the history of the club and is certainly competitive to achieve mid table and to also to compete for the play off places.
How the budget has been used and decisions on playing personnel, squad numbers etc. has been at the discretion of the management team with NO interference from the board, committee, or myself as director of football - only support and backing of the decisions of the management team.
We have a highly qualified manager and coaching staff who work very hard to produce the best team possible, embracing the philosophy of playing good attractive football as a priority. This philosophy is being embedded in all of the teams at the club and is one of the building blocks within the DNA of Oxford City Football Club.
The management team have signed very good players within the budget and took the decision to use the budget on a smaller squad with higher paid players, rather than a larger squad. With recent injuries/suspensions we have been flexible and exceeded the playing budget set to maintain the strongest opportunities to achieve performances and results.
We have the majority of the playing squad being employed under contract with a handful of non-contracted players, which is the norm for clubs playing at National League South. The playing budget has not been reduced, altered, or amended except for a slight increase due to injuries.
Any decision on playing personnel coming in or going out are being discussed with the management team with the pros and cons behind the decisions but with the overriding decisions being made by the manager. This allows the manager flexibility and the freedom to be creative and make decisions at the playing level. Mark, Joe and Steve have worked tirelessly with the squad and have decided they want to make some changes in playing personnel to change the dynamics of the squad. The board and myself are backing Mark with the decisions he is making, and respect his decisions based on the fact he works with the team on a weekly basis. If we are to bring in players, however, this needs to fit within the playing budget and be balanced by letting other players go. These decisions are discussed and agreed by myself and the other board members but, ultimately, we give responsibility to the manager to be able to manage the team.
The only strong criteria being set to the management team within this is to stick to the philosophy of playing football and to ensure the club's values and ethics are maintained.
The club is recovering from the well documented financial problems that came to light two years ago. The club has debts which are being repaid on a monthly basis and this debt is gradually reducing, but it will take 2-3 years to be debt free without further investment. Our Finance Director, Paul Lyon, is working tirelessly to ensure that the Club can meet its liabilities whilst, at the same time, provide a competitive playing budget for the squad.
The business operations at the club are increasing with the site and facilities gaining more usage. The club has one of the lowest fan bases in the National League and there has also been little commercial activity in recent years. Recognising this, we are building an infrastructure at the club to support its growth with a view to increasing revenues to support the facilities, club, and playing budget.
- Laura Hextall has commenced a full-time post as commercial manager of Oxford City to engage with local partners and businesses, and to develop the experiences of existing customers.
- Ruth Senior has commenced a new role at the club as Sports Development Manager, working with Ryan Gurton to develop community engagement and to develop the junior and youth sections of the club.
- Kamen Matthews is employed by the club full time as 1882 bar manager, working with Laura to provide a dedicated hospitality service for customers.
The investment in staff is essential to developing the football club as a whole and to ensure a sustainable future.
We are finalising our football development plan which details a 5-year plan and our vision for developing the junior, youth and senior sections.
Oxford United Partnership
The partnership we started last year with Oxford United, which provided the investment for the 3G pitch and bar refurbishment, has ended.
We are delighted to reach an agreement with Darryl Eales and his company Ensco to transfer their shares back to Oxford City, and a repayment schedule has been set up to repay the pitch investment made by Darryl. The deal involves a 6-year repayment plan with very favourable terms to the football club. This agreement gives full management and ownership of the site to Oxford City and all revenues generated come into the football club.
This again is a long-term financial commitment, but one that gives the club every chance of success and stability for years to come.
To achieve all of our financial commitments and to continue in our development as a club we do need your support. If you can encourage a friend to come to a game, attend a club event, or consider our sponsorship opportunities it will be a massive help.
Hopefully this statement will provide a valuable update on where we are as a club and an insight to the development of the club also.
Updated 10:48 - 24 Oct 2018 by Oxford City FC
Director of Football